Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) – Explained with technical details.

When the road is slippery and you need to stop the car, all it needs is good professional driving skills. Or it would help if you had a good ABS in your car. ABS stands for Anti-lock Braking System. Nowadays, every modern car is equipped with ABS technology to ensure the safety of its consumers. In general, the ABS features of vehicles have helped decline road accidents. So, let’s dig deeper to know everything about the features of the Anti-lock Braking System.

Components of ABS

Anti-lock braking means to oppose the lock when brakes are applied. ABS lets the driver take complete control of the vehicle during the braking period.

There are four major components in ABS.

  1. Electronic Control Unit: It manages the functioning between the signals and speed sensors.
  2. Valves: These control the additional pressure on the brakes. The valves are open and close to accumulate and release the pressure.
  3. Sensors: The speed sensors are installed in the ABS that keeps a check on the speed of rotation of wheels.
  4. Hydraulic pumps: These pumps are filled with hydraulic fluids. During brakes, the pressure is shifted to brake drums due to the activation of hydraulic pumps.

Types of Anti-lock Braking System

  1. Four sensors and four-channel ABS: Each wheel of the car has a sensor and a valve.
  2. Three sensors and three-channel ABS: The two front wheels have one sensor and one valve. The two rear wheels have a collective sensor and a collective valve.
  3. Four sensors and three-channel ABS: All four wheels have sensors. The two front wheels have separate valves, and the two rear wheels have a collective valve.
  4. Four sensors and two-channel ABS: All four wheels of the car have individual sensors. The front two wheels have one valve, and the rear two wheels have one valve. This type of ABS was in use during the mid-’80s and ’90s.
  5. One sensor and one channel ABS: The front wheels have a collective sensor and valve. The rear wheels also have the joint sensor and valve. SUVs and pickup trucks use this type of ABS.

Working of ABS

  • ABS mechanism is modified than the regular braking system. In a normal braking system, when the brakes are pressed, the pressure is applied to the disc of the wheels. This pressure applied to the wheel disc immediately stops the rotation of the wheels that contain the car.
  • ABS plays a vital role during the heavy braking situation. ABS provides the car’s control on the drives hands by slowing down the car’s speed and letting the wheels continue their rotation.
  • In ABS, when brakes are applied, the wheel’s sensor works to detect the declining rotation of the wheels. When the pressure of the brakes increases, then it makes the wheels stop. When the rotation of the wheels is about to stop, then a signal is sent to the electric control unit by the sensors of the wheels.
  • The electric control unit plays the role by partially realizing the pressure from the brake pads. The two other components of the ABS, called pumps and valves, help the electric control unit keep the wheels in the anti-lock braking position and keep on rotation.
  • When the wheels come in a controllable rotating position, the driver can maintain the required speed of the car and hold control of the vehicle.

Benefits of ABS

  • It helps stop the car immediately when there is a big obstacle in front of it and protects the vehicle from colloid.
  • Uneven wearing of the tyre is also avoided due to ABS as wheels remained unlocked.
  • ABS aid the traction control system’s performance.
  • The problems like wearing brake discs and brake pads are removed with the introduction of ABS in the vehicles.
  • ABS applies the correct pressure on the brakes to stop the vehicle.

Limitation of ABS

  • The maintenance of ABS is very costly.
  • The ABS is quite complex because of the electronic control unit and the installation of the wheel’s sensors.
  • The application of ABS on different types of roads and surfaces changes ABS’s braking distances.
  • The installation of ABS imposes an additional cost on the manufacturing of cars that reflects the increased selling price of vehicles.


1. How does ABS control accidents?

ABS is beneficial in reducing accidents in heavy trucks, SUVs, and passenger cars. Many accidents happen when brakes are applied to vehicles and skid on uneven roads because the wheels stop their rotations. ABS allows the rotation of wheels when the brakes are applied. This helps the driver control the car and save the car from skidding.

2. Can ABS help in improving the racing speed of the car?

Yes, car racing can be increased if ABS is applied rightly. With ABS, the tyre wearing is reduced, and quick turns become feasible with the help of continued usage of brakes.

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